I Am Alive focuses on facing the permanent insecurity of a now decaying and hazardous world, and humanity’s darkest inclinations.
During encounters with other survivors, the player can use various tactics to stay alive, including using bluff and intimidation e.g. pointing an empty gun at hostile non-playable characters, playing it low profile to surprise enemies with a machete quick kill, or performing stealth kills with a bow.
The game has an emphasis on climbing and exploration. The player will scale wrecked buildings and navigate hazardous areas. Every effort has a cost and, when engaging in physically demanding activities, such as climbing, sprinting or jumping, it is critical to manage the main character’s stamina for him to survive. By managing stamina skillfully players are rewarded by accessing hidden paths, resources and other survivors.
Survival gameplay also involves collecting hidden resources and supplies scattered throughout the city: water, food, gas, medicine, cigarettes, tools, climbing gear, weapons, and ammo. Anything that the player can salvage from the destroyed city can be used to keep the main characters strong and healthy, or prove helpful in his quest by allowing him to rescue victims.
Because of the emphasis on extreme survival, gameplay is tough and unforgiving at times. However, retries can be collected throughout the game by helping or rescuing victims, with optional side quests to complete.